Jyeshta Gauri Pujan, one of the popular vratas observed in Bhadrapada month in Maharashtra as per Marathi calendar. It is observed during Jyeshta nakshatra hence known as Jyeshta Gauri vrata. This three-day puja usually starts on the sixth day of Bhadrapad month and ends on the eighth day of the month.
Married women perform Haldi-kumkum celebrations and distribute several types of offerings among them. The procedure of puja may differ from caste to caste and region to region.
Generally, Goddess Gauri is offered special prayers and after the puja the idol is immersed in water. This vratha is also known as Shodash Uma Vrat as the number ‘16’ has special significance in this puja. Gauri is referred to as Mahalakshmi in some households of Marathi regions. Devotees bring Jyeshta Gauri to their homes in pairs such as Jyeshtha – Kanishtha, Sakhi – Parvati etc. Devotees place the Goddess in various forms like pebbles, masks, decorations, haldi, or clay idols.
Terda plants are used to place the mask of Gauri upon it. Pebbles (5 or 7) are also used to symbolize the Goddess. 16 types of special recipes, and Aarti with 16 lamps are offered to Gauri Mata. Jyeshta Gauri Vrat katha is associated with the demolition of a demon in the hands of the Goddess. The story is recited during the puja. On the third day, Jyeshta Gauri idol is immersed in water bodies.
The first day of the puja is known as Jyeshta Gauri Avahan or Sthapana (2 September 2014), the second day as Jyeshta Gowri pujan (3 September 2014), and the third day is referred to as Jyeshta Gouri Udwasan or Visarjan (4 September 2014).